— 14 January 2005 —

Making the List is Only Half the Battle

I was looking through some old email and found the following.

As I am about to turn 30 years old, and as after that none of you will listen to me, I offer this image and manifesto as a parting shot at the establishment [before I become a part of it].

  • I will never try to levitate anything, except my daughter.
  • I will never believe in anything strongly enough to do more than complain in my house.
  • I will never care enough about society because caring requires commitment.

But, I will never want others to share my outlook on life.

So, I encourage you to do two of the following:

  • Care about something enough to write a real letter to your government representative. Send it with the signatures of others on it, too.
  • Believe in one thing, find out as much as you can about it, then convince one other person to see it as you do.
  • Levitate something. Anything. Even if you are the only person to see, or feel it rise.

Almost 4 years in, I am still in my usual two-out-of-three rut. The levitation/image part is in reference to this. And this is why I think making the list is only half the battle: you have to remember to look back at the list and at least internally gauge your progress.

I never remember to look back at my lists. And that is also why I think 43 Things is cute, but for most people it won’t be very helpful. It’s just going to turn into a collection of items that were important to me when I wrote them down. The kinds of change we often seek upon the birth of a new year require slow, almost methodical behaviour modification.

We make a mistake in saying I want to accomplish X. What we should say is, I want to change my behaviour such that I can accomplish X. We make the goals, but forget there are steps needed in order to achieve those goals. And my bet is that most people don’t forget because they don’t even consider.

I have goals for this year. And this is the first time I have considered what it will really take to achieve my goals. Most of my goals will not be accomplished this year. They will simply start. Short of catastrophe, internal change must needs be slow.

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Snook Approved!